UK Athletics Board

Role and Responsibilities of the Board of UKA

The Board of UKA has the same legal responsibilities and duties as the Board of any other limited company. It decides the strategy of the company, approves long and short term plans and budgets, and monitors activity and financial outcomes. It also oversees the controls over financial and legal probity, health and safety and the proper treatment of the employees.

The Chairman of the Board runs the meetings and has an oversight over the corporate governance processes. He also acts as a senior level public face of the company and as a mentor for the Chief Executive.

The Chief Executive is also a director of the company, and has responsibility for implementing the strategy and decisions of the Board and managing the company and the employees.

The Finance Director also fulfils the role of Company Secretary. As an executive he reports to the Chief Executive; he also has responsibilities to the Chairman and the Board as a whole.

The other directors are known as Non-Executive Directors, as they do not have direct executive roles. They do, however, have the same responsibilities as the other directors for the actions and probity of the company. They are chosen for a mix of athletics and business expertise and involvement, and each works with one of the strategic business units within the company to review their activities and to add expertise and knowledge to the activity.

The UK Athletics Board code of conduct document can be found here.

Nic Coward


As former General Secretary of the Premier League and CEO of the British Horseracing Authority, as well as twice acting CEO of the Football Association, he has considerable experience navigating the complexity of international and domestic stakeholders within the sporting landscape.

In recent years he has been a director and consultant in sport and other sectors. Current roles include Chair of England Golf and the England and Wales Cricket Board Regulatory Committee in addition to advising sports in India and China.

Joanna Coates

Chief Executive Officer 

Previously the chief commercial officer at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), Joanna was the Chief Executive Officer of England Netball from 2015 to 2019, including the memorable gold medal success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She also professionalised netball by bringing in major sponsors and television agreements whilst growing grassroots participation and media coverage including on digital channels, and led the expansion of the Vitality Superleague franchise system.

Her time at England Netball concluded last summer with the hosting of the most successful Netball World Cup in history. Before her role at England Netball, Joanna was a Commercial Director for the Football Conference and a Director at Notts County Football Club.

Mark Draisey

Chief Financial Officer


BCom Accounting degree – University of Birmingham

Chartered Accountant (CA), ICAS

Career Summary:

Mark is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a broad range of experience at senior management levels in the private, regulatory, not for profit and membership sectors. His experience has seen him lead teams in a number of areas including Finance, HR, Risk Management, Procurement and IT.

Gordon Arthur

Non-Executive Director

Role at UK Athletics:

Non-Executive Director and Chair of HR & Remuneration Committee

Other Commitments:

Non-Executive Director on the board for Glasgow Prestwick Airport

Member of Unicef UK Scottish Advisory Board

Roundtable Consultant to a number of organisations

Career Summary:

Gordon is an experienced business executive who has gained a wealth of experience due to undertaking a number of key roles of importance in his career.

In short, this includes working as a Director of Group Corporate Affairs at Standard Life for seven years, whilst more recently he held the role of Chief Communications Officer for Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games. Within the latter, Gordon – whilst working as one of six team Directors – was instrumental in developing the strategy, values and governance around what was a hugely successful Games.

Penny Avis

Senior Independent Director & Chair of the Audit Committee


LLB (hons) Law degree, University of Sheffield

Chartered Accountant (ACA), ICAEW

Role at UKA:

Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee

Other Commitments:

Non-Executive Director at Howard Kennedy, Cifas, Equitable Life, Envestors

Regional chair of the Deloitte Former Partners Association

Career summary

Penny Avis is a former corporate finance partner and board member of Deloitte UK LLP, where she specialised in due diligence for corporate and private equity acquirers, public to private transactions, hostile takeovers, bid defence, equity and debt listings. She has been the lead partner on over fifty transactions and has sector experience across consumer business, retail, healthcare and manufacturing.

She is a qualified accountant (ACA, ICAEW) and a member of the Deloitte Academy. Penny remains involved with Deloitte as Chair of the Former Partners Association for London and the South Region.

Stuart Cain

Non-Executive Director

Cain is Chief Executive at Wasps Holdings having spent the two years looking after Wasps Rugby, Wasps Netball and the Ricoh Arena sports, conference and concert venue.

As former MD of the NEC group, he oversaw The Ticket Factory and has previously worked as a Commercial Director for both Rangers Football Club and Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as Global Managing Partner, Sport & Entertainment at Mindshare/WPP plc.

He is currently the Senior Independent Director on the Rugby World Cup 2021 board, and previously chaired the London 2012 Olympic Data Legacy Committee.

Anne Wafula-Strike

Non-Executive Director


B.Ed (Hons). Moi University, Kenya.

Role at UKA:

Non-Executive Director

Other Commitments:

Ambassador to the British Polio Fellowship.
Patron – Centre for Sport, Spirituality and Religion, York University.
Sporting Ambassador – Right to Play.

Career Summary:

Anne was a college lecturer and Student Counsellor at Machakos Technical Training College before she came to the UK.

She is a former GB & NI Paralympic wheelchair racer, who previously competed for Kenya at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. In recent years Wafula-Strike has concentrated on charity work, fundraising and motivational speaking.

She was awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to disability sport and charity, and last December the UK Kenyan Achievers Award for most inspirational figure of the year. She has also founded her own charity, The Olympia-Wafula Foundation, which supports disabled people around the world.

Mike Whittingham

Non-Executive Director


Educated at Alleyn’s school, Dulwich

BA Hons French, Leicester University

PGCE, Loughborough University.

Masters in Recreation Management

Royal Society of Arts, EFL.

Role at UK Athletics:

Non-Executive Director (Performance)

Other Commitments:

Currently has various professional commitments at sportscotland Institute of Sport. Non-Executive Board member of Winning Students Advisory Board, British Curling Board. In 2020, Mike will be stepping down in his present role at SIS.

Career Summary:

Mike has held several Senior and Director positions in Local Government and in Sport/High Performance Sport – UK Sport, Scottish Institute of Sport, sportscotland. He has also managed his own sports consultancy company Direction Sportive.

As both Executive Director of the SIS and Director of High Performance for sportscotland, he has led and overseen a very successful period for Scottish sport with a series of “Best Evers” in Summer Olympics & Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games from 2010 to 2020.

He has represented both GB & NI and indeed England at 400m hurdles, 800m and 4x 400m from 1973- 1984 (4th Commonwealth Games 1984). He was personal Coach & Manager to Kriss Akabusi, Roger Black, Jon Ridgeon, Mark Richardson, Nicola Saunders, Maria Akara, Christine Whittingham, Jacqui Parker and others. National Coach for 400m & 400m Hurdles. Greatest sporting moment was National Coach to the 4x 400m World Championships 1991 winning relay squad.

He is very familiar also with the world of Sports Management and Media Broadcasting – having been an expert summariser at BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Sport, BBC World Service, Eurosport and OBS.

When at leisure, he enjoys running, keeping fit, hiking, weal kayaking, ski touring and taking part in specific fundraising challenges. A wide range of interests extend to gardening/ horticulture, nature, cooking, languages and playing the piano.

UKA Board Meeting Minutes